May is National Foster Care Month
May 1, 2012 by Paul Guequierre
Did you know there are over 400,000 children in the foster care system in this country? These are kids who need someone to send them off to school in the morning, help them with their homework, hug them, and simply provide a loving home. We often talk about adoption and the barriers LGBT families face, but we rarely focus on foster care. May is National Foster Care Month. The occasion gives us an opportunity to reflect on the experiences and needs of the children and youth in the foster care system.
Foster parents are desperately needed across the country. LGBT people often feel like they have no options in starting a family. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Children are being raised in over 1 million LGBT-headed households across the country. These numbers from 2010 U.S. Census data show foster care and adoption by LGBT families is not a new phenomenon. All major medical, mental health, and child welfare organizations have come to the same conclusion – that sexual orientation and gender identity have absolutely nothing to do with the ability to raise a child. But sadly LGBT people still face far too many barriers to opening their hearts and homes to children who so desperately need them.
The HRC Foundation’s “All Children – All Families” initiative is working to break those barriers down. The program seeks to enhance LGBT cultural competence among child welfare professionals and educate LGBT people about opportunities to become foster or adoptive parents to waiting children. To date, ACAF has over 50 participating agencies across the country, and has awarded 18 seals of recognition. Last year HRC launched a “50 state strategy,” with the goal of securing at least one ACAF-recognized adoption agency dedicated to working with LGBT families in every state.
Have you ever thought about fostering a child? Is your heart ready? Maybe National Foster Care Month is your time to answer that question.
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